Column: Forget GameStop and short sellers — the SEC says ‘OCMillionaire’ manipulated a worthless stock higher
Michael Hiltzik, 17 March 2021
If you’ve been following the ludicrous saga of trading in GameStop shares, you’ve probably heard about how short sellers try to profit by manipulating stocks to fall in price.
But that’s not the only way people try to play the market.
The Securities and Exchange Commission just unveiled fraud charges against a trader allegedly trying to profit by manipulating a stock higher.
He’s Andrew Fassari, a 33-year-old Orange County resident. According to the SEC, he staged a vigorous campaign in December using the Twitter handle “OCMillionaire” to suck penny-stock investors into shares of Arcis Resources Corp., which had been defunct for years.
Fraudsters can use online platforms (including social news aggregators, investment research websites, online investment newsletters, ratings websites, message boards, chat rooms, and discussion forums) to spread false or misleading information.
Securities and Exchange Commission
Fassari made $929,693 in his first round of trading in Arcis shares from Dec. 9 through Dec. 16, the SEC says in a complaint unsealed in Los Angeles federal court Monday. He bought back in on Dec. 17 and sold his entire stake the next day, sustaining a loss of $436,312.
Fassari’s overall net gain was $493,381, the SEC says. The agency notes that Arcis never traded higher than about 5 1/2 cents while Fassari was buying, selling and promoting, and often traded for a few tenths of a cent.